Kansas News Service

The Kansas News Service produces essential enterprise reporting, diving deep and connecting the dots regarding the policies, issues and and events that affect the health of Kansans and their communities. The team is based at KCUR and collaborates with KMUW and public media stations across Kansas.

The Kansas News Service is made possible by a group of funding organizations, led by the Kansas Health Foundation. Other funders include United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, Sunflower Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Additional support comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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Rural Health Working Group Still Seeking Focus

Oct 7, 2016
Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A task force charged with addressing the problems of health care delivery in rural Kansas met for nearly five hours in Salina yesterday. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson reports, they still haven’t settled on a direction.

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas mental health providers say funding cuts and stalled contract negotiations with the state are hindering their ability to provide care.

They're sounding the alarm on how Medicaid rate cuts and contract disputes are affecting care.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

The University of Kansas Hospital and Hays Medical Center announced Wednesday they’ve signed a letter of intent to join forces as partners.

The partnership builds on a relationship established nearly three years ago when the two institutions combined to treat heart and stroke patients in western Kansas.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

Questions about the long-term effects of football on the brain have trickled down from the NFL to the high school level, where there's little research on players. Even so, the organization that governs high school sports in Kansas is directing coaches and players to cut down on the hitting as they prepare for the season. 

At the first day of football practice at Blue Valley Northwest High School, one sound you won’t hear is the crashing of pads and helmets.

healthcare.gov

Federal health officials say headlines about anticipated premium increases on the Obamacare health insurance marketplace overlook an important point: Most Americans, including two-thirds of Kansans, will still be able to find a plan with a premium of $75 a month, or less.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

Experts from a variety of fields gathered Wednesday at the Kansas Statehouse for a mental health symposium spurred by an Emporia hospital’s struggle last year to find a psychiatric care bed for a suicidal patient.

House Speaker Pro Tem Peggy Mast, a Republican from Emporia, said she was inspired to convene the symposium after hearing from officials at Newman Regional Health.

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is sticking to his talking points. In a rare informal conversation with Statehouse reporters late last week, Brownback said the results of the recent primary election aren’t causing him to re-think his positions on tax cuts, school finance and Medicaid expansion.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

Legislators in cash-strapped Kansas approved a 4 percent cut to Medicaid reimbursements this year. That’s made an already tough situation even tougher for a dentist in Prairie Village who serves some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

John Fasbinder’s dental office was busy on a recent Tuesday.

The effort to expand Medicaid in Kansas has been stuck in the political mud for the better part of three years.

Not anymore.

The results of last week’s primary election may have given expansion advocates the traction they need to overcome opposition from Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative conservatives who thus far have blocked debate on the issue.

A series of victories by moderate Republicans over conservative incumbents and challengers for open seats has fundamentally changed the legislative landscape.

A company that issues health care ID cards for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City says a cyberattack in July may affect more than 400,000 Missouri policyholders.

Newkirk Products, Inc. says the breached data varied by plan but generally only included information found on members’ ID cards.

Kelly Cannon, a spokeswoman for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, said financial and medical information was not exposed.

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